Tears Are Time Travel
I didn’t feel well.
Granny let me stay
home from school.
45 years passed.
Like a champ.
Didn’t even dip into
the painkillers the
hospice left in plenty.
The night before he went
I asked him how he was doing.
He said “Okay, I just have to beat this.”
The day he died
bulldozers started tearing
at the woods behind our house.
A long feared and protested event
happening now like a staged
scene in a John Sayles movie.
Not so good.
Howls of the soul so
twisted and agonized that
a lifetime of horror movies,
and Flannery O’Connor
could not prepare me for.
I hunted mushrooms
in my backyard woods
wearing soggy Batman slippers
with my granny.
I’m still there.
I’m pretty much here.
Seeing Beckett in February with Megan
There was little air in the air
it being a February Sunday.
Dead leafless trees
a warehouse for crosses
were king, jutting gravemarkers in
the static cold dampness.
It was a day made for a hospital visit,
for putting on an old sweater
and finding a nest of unraveling.
Megan, who has raven black hair,
at that time could go a day without speech
except for the heavy metal amped
through her eyes.
She was wearing her sky dust
detective raincoat and
was being performed
in the university’s converted barn.
We swam through the gray day
to see John Astin, the original
Gomez of The Addams Family—
a show that informed my childhood
of anarchy and true love—as Krapp.
It was said to be his last performance
that he was leaving the university.
That information slid into the gray sack.
I wondered what would become of
the parallel library he had built here
to match the one he had in California.
Each of his book purchases so gleeful.
He would lift the Albee play and draw
out its name like Krapp elongating “sspppoooollll.”
I spot an older poet friend who I
met as a customer in my bookshop.
Often Amanda and I watched
his old car struggle its way to our door
and we’d cheer it on.
His son at one point
played violin on the street corner
near where I bought coffee
& I looked forward to
his keening notes & wave,
his long thin hair a sun flag.
The old poet’s ahead in line
With his entire family,
they’re having a Beckett
Sunday outing, maybe to be
followed by a meal of silent
bananas in the nearby graveyard.
May the slippery skins
trip up hissing persistent phantoms,
ever at our heels.
I will be the hovering gooseberry
recently rolled off a pantseat oiled pew.
They were the only light of the moment
barn lights lowered for
I wave, they wave, we move our
mouths without words.
There is a communion of language
inside the barn, a hush
for an emissary of life’s tender agony
to reflect on everything on this muckball—
all the light and dark and famine—
feast if you got it—
better than a kick in the crutch.
“Are you still up for daisies tonight,”
while under us all moved
and moved us gently
up and down, side to side.
to the bells.
About Rupert Wondolowski
Rupert Wondolowski is also the author of Mattress In an Alley, Raft Upon the Sea (Fell Swoop), The Origin of Paranoia as a Heated Mole Suit (Publishing Genius) and The Whispering of Ice Cubes (Shattered Wig Press). He performs in The Mole Suit Choir and Wondofeather and lives in the fabled land of Baltimore.